Something about how most government officials view the Nigerian public is what is been revealed by Dr Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, Minister of State, Petroleum Resources through his statement suggesting that Nigerians should learn to wait and be willing to accept some inconveniences, if they must get the long-awaited solutions to their collective problems.
For most elected or appointed government officials, their mindset is that the Nigerian society is divided into two polar entities. On one side is the public which are a bunch of ignorant people in search of solutions to their common problems. And on the other side, are the rulers; the chosen few who are the ones considered capable and knowledgeable enough to provide the needed solutions.
It is also similar to how those in the medical profession see their patients as carriers of the problems for which they absolutely lack the knowledge of a cure. And therefore feel a cure could only come from their know-how while ordering the sick to strictly adhere to their directives or brace up for the consequences of an impending death if anything contrary is done.
In the recent situation of biting fuel scarcity, Dr Kachikwu’s reference that the needed solutions cannot be magically created by him, but by his know-how; which of course is subject to timing, may have unwittingly been uttered with a bit of sarcasm. But the crux is that Nigerians have been cultured to patiently wait for all the solutions that government needed to provide. However, Nigerians have never gotten used to not making any fuss about biting fuel scarcity. Why? Petrol is one commodity that critically affects the rich and the poor in Nigeria, and becomes a matter which gets echoed in ‘heaven’ when the problem migrates from being exorbitant to unavailable for the rich.
Therefore when the expected timely remedy was worsened by a seeming despondent response from the Minister, such a gaffe or Freudian slip was swiftly greeted with reprobation from the high and mighty, and a parliamentary summons for Dr Kachikwu’s physical appearance at the Senate followed suit.
But, how could such an acclaimed legal scholar of a Minister not know that if he was allowed to toil with the issues of costly and scarce kerosene; it can never be so with the unavailability of petrol? In such a matter of kerosene which mainly affects the poor, any excuse expressed in buoyant bureaucratic lexicons can be entertained. As for petrol, whether the Minister’s statement is appropriately reflecting the differences between human and divine capabilities, his response was perceived not only as defiance of his executive mandate and the expected timely execution of the campaign promises, but also expressing a despairing trajectory of the needed urgent solutions to the masters’ personal problems. This simply is an affront his masters are not prepared to brook.
While the ills of past regimes are been portrayed in a, we-never-really envisaged the problems to be in such monstrous dimensions, which now needs a different mindset and timeframe for tenable solutions; moreover, the truth is that Nigerians have become worn-out which solutions which sound rudely as ‘whether you like it or not’ being dished out from every quarters of government.
After all, a patient no matter how perceived dull, but which has the capacity to accurately tell his doctor what is wrong with him and the actions of a treatment should be credited with some knowledge: Likewise, Nigerians who can identify when applied solutions are not working, should be acknowledged for having the ability of discernment or assessment of what is being done rightly or wrongly.
A good study of all the problems in Nigeria should reveal the causes as emanating from the gulf which exist between what the rulers think Nigerians know or do not know. This lack of synergy or mistake is further developed into a strong apathy when the rulers become unwholesome with public funds instead doing the needful, while hoping that a magnified excuse is sufficient to keep the people from asking ‘why are some animals more equal than the others?’ Denoting from the institutionalized fable or fathom homogeneity which characterized the communal living in George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’
Of a truth, the blame game has become sickening to Nigerians. Insisting on such rhetoric only keeps magnifying the patient’s ailment with worsening psychological pains. The pale reports are portraying situations that have become hardened and irreparable. The youths are getting emboldened to embrace the suicidal mission of travelling through death-trying journeys in search of hope abroad – a place where they can be free until the real ‘magicians’ come to rescue Nigeria.
Talking about simple solutions that are soothing in the interim; as the last presidential election was on hand, Nigerians were faced with a similar fuel scarcity and I considered that the immediate past president was slipping when the campaign messages kept accusing the opposition of sabotaging their efforts at providing adequate petroleum products to Nigerians.
For me, the excuse sounded preposterous coming from a government still in power. In my article titled ‘Something lacking in the campaigns’ published on Thisday edition of 22 March, 2015, I wrote “Trending is the usual accusation of the enemy having sown and is still sowing the bad seed; and supposedly under the ‘good’ watch of some self-acclaimed diligent caretakers.
By now, any good thinker would have thought that emphasis is placed on how to solve the recently nagging problems even beyond a sole concentration on campaigning. Some of the campaigners in the various States ought to have constituted themselves into action committees in ensuring that there are no sharp practices in the distribution of the petroleum products, having told the public that there is an abundant stock”.
Now I also wish President Muhammadu Buhari would immediately set up a ‘presidential monitoring’ committee made up of ’young men’ nominated from various non-governmental organisations to monitor distribution and dispensing of fuel at all NNPC franchise stations, including that of the major marketers. For example, the commotion, vehicle smashing, touting, brigandry, bribery, taking place at the Benin City, Sapele Road NNPC fueling station is a gawking testimony of a society that can no longer be rescued.
Quite frankly, these abnormalities should not be occurring when most Nigerians are very good at volunteering. The Road Safety Corps’ ‘Special Marshals’ remains a relevant testimony of our collective effort in public service.